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Top 10 Health Benefits after Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

18th Apr 2024

Top 10 Health Benefits after Quitting Smoking Cigarettes

  1. Fewer heart issues/reduced chance of heart attack
  2. Improved lung function
  3. Increases life expectancy
  4. Cleaner teeth
  5. Body odour improves
  6. Senses of taste and smell improve
  7. More physical energy
  8. Better mental health
  9. Improved blood circulation
  10. Reduced fertility

Based on figures from the latest World Health Organisation (WHO) report, in 2024 it’s estimated that there is still 1.25 billion people who smoke cigarettes worldwide. Despite this large number of the global population smoking, tobacco use numbers are declining.

The main reason for this concern, and has been for many decades now, is the dangers posed to the health of humanity from cigarettes. It’s the largest preventable reason for death worldwide, with eight million deaths per year attributed to smoking-related illnesses or cancer caused by cigarettes.

In the UK alone, there are roughly six million smokers still. This number has been declining year on year based on the latest reports from the Action on Smoking Health (ASH) group. But it’s still high. Decades of research show that regardless of age or reason, quitting smoking as soon as possible, whether you smoke 1 a day or 20, and whether you’re in your early 20s or in the 60s age group bracket can improve your health in a positive way.

At V2 Cigs UK, we have compiled statistics from medical resources and studies across Europe, and further afield, to highlight the best short-term and long-term health benefits of quitting cigarettes today.

The Main Benefits of Quitting Smoking Are:

A Healthier Heart

It’s no surprise that a healthier heart leads to a better and longer life. It’s a vital organ that helps to pump blood around your body as it beats. What cigarettes do, as explained by the British Heart Foundation, is ‘make the walls of the arteries sticky. The fatty material can begin to clog your arteries and reduce the space for blood to flow properly’.

Following that, the arteries are clogged reducing blood flow to the heart, this is what causes a heart attack. And when blood flow is reduced to the brain from clogged arteries, this can lead to a stroke.

If you give up smoking, following the first year, the risk of a heart attack halves compared to someone who continues to smoke.

Even better news, following 15 years of no smoking, amazingly the risk of a heart attack is the same as someone who has never smoked.

Source: British Heart Foundation

Female Doctor Talking to Patient

Improved lung function

You can’t underestimate the value of good working lungs, to assist in an active and safe lifestyle. As the UK Asthma and Lung Charity explain, the function of the lungs is important, to ‘take in oxygen from the air you breathe in and move it into your bloodstream, so that it gets to every part of your body’.

Stopping smoking is important for the flow of oxygen, to improve breathing capacity and capability, to keep the airways unblocked and to keep our oxygen levels healthy, so we can ‘turn food into energy, which we need for growth, repair and movement’.

Essentially, the sooner you quit smoking, the better your lungs will be, reducing the chances of airway damage, and preventing the irritation of smoke inflaming the lungs. The NHS states that 7 out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking, so that’s another important consideration to take on board as smoking leads to 77,000 deaths per year in the UK.

Not only will coughing and wheezing reduce, but breathing will improve and the quality of life will be far greater without cigarettes, short-term and further down the line.

Sources: NHS, Asthma and Lung UK, ASH

Increases life expectancy

The famous line in Star Trek is “Live Long and Prosper”. Although this is something we all hope for, smoking can cut down the length of your life by roughly 10 years just by picking up and using cigarettes on a regular basis. This is why stop smoking services and health advocates do all they can to ensure you stop as soon as possible, regardless of age.

We all want to live longer to go through all the major stages of life with family, friends and loved ones. Unfortunately, smoking can put a stop to that, but acting when you can however you can is the most important takeaway.

Instantly, you can see the positive impact on your health when you quit, with the NHS explaining in this article focusing on increased life expectancy when you give up cigarettes that you flush out carbon monoxide, clearing your lungs in only two days. Financially, you will benefit from it too. Life insurance will be cheaper for example when you show that you have quit sooner. Every day sooner that you quit will prolong your life.

Source: NHS

Woman Smiling With Short Hair and a Healthy Drink

Cleaner teeth

If you want a nice white smile from pearly clean teeth and healthy gums to match, you need to stop smoking. Smoking can cause the teeth to turn yellow very quickly. The benefits are clear when you do so to reduce the risks of infections, gum disease, oral cancer and overall dental hygiene.

What smoking does, because of the thousands of dangerous unknown toxins, as well as the more known ones such as tar, weaken your body’s immune system. This then makes it harder to resist gum infections or even tooth loss. Visually your teeth will stain, and it will be more difficult to heal.

In addition, halitosis can form with an increased risk based on a study of smokers vs non-smokers. Halitosis is the scientific name for any odour that occurs in the air, whether from an oral or non-oral source. It can form, particularly with cigarette smokers, because of the nature of cigarettes and the imbalance it can create in oral health due to the bacteria that form.

Bad oral health begins because the oxygen supply in the bloodstream is reduced, creating a cycle of issues that can only be fixed when smoking stops.

Source: Oral Health Foundation, National Library of Medicine (2022 Study)

Body odour improves

Think it’s just the smell of cigarettes that puts people off? Guess again – you're emitting an unflattering body odour when you smoke too. No amount of teeth brushing, mouthwash or deodorant can mask the smell long term. The smoky odour resides on not just your clothes, but your hair, skin and all surfaces, hence why it lingers for so long in cars and homes.

Plus, because you begin to lose your senses of smell when you smoke, eventually your nose familiarises itself with the scent, so you’re not aware of what it is emitting to others. The carcinogenic residue not only lands on everything, but internally nicotine and other toxins from within cigarettes impact the sweat glands.

To summarise, it impacts everything – your mouth, body, hair, and skin (the increase of oxygen brightens up the skin) will all improve. And people in the general area will thank you kindly when you stop smoking!

Source: Healthline

Senses such as taste and smell improve

It’s a known fact that your senses of taste and smell significantly reduce when you start to smoke, gradually getting worse over time. So much so that you lose the pleasure of enjoying food as much, as the scent from a fresh perfume or the smell of freshly cut grass. These little pleasures are taken for granted by so many until they’re taken away.

Why does this occur when smoking? As this medical study explains, the ‘exposure of the olfactory tissue generates the decrease of sensory cell production capacity’. The olfactory sense is part of the body's system that’s important to repeatedly smell and detect different things.

Repeatedly being exposed to the same smells eventually leads to the body familiarising itself with that scent, hence why when you spray a new perfume for the first time you experience it but after a while, it becomes second nature, and you no longer recognise its scent.

To regain your senses, repair your olfactory sense and enjoy the taste of your favourite foods and outdoor smells again, put down the cigarettes and pick up a healthier alternative!

Source: National Library of Medicine

More physical energy

As we have explained above through various medical studies and reports, quitting smoking can have a hugely positive impact on the body. If your heart rate, lung function and oxygen levels improve, it’s no surprise you’ll feel fitter and stronger in the process. Whether that’s simply climbing up the stairs at home, carrying your kids around the park, or getting involved in a sports match or sponsored run, your body will be able to react to more because energy levels will improve.

This was backed up by a huge survey the UK government carried out last year on the back of their annual Stoptober campaign, as they push to reduce smoking prevalence to below 5% before 2030.

New data from a group of 3,000 ex-smokers noted higher energy levels as the key difference following two weeks without a cigarette, with 45% stating that was the top benefit during the survey.

Feeling healthier (42%) and breathing better (42%) were other key benefits after quitting smoking. With current pressures such as the cost-of-living crisis in the UK, more physical energy is needed to cope with stress.

Source: GOV UK

Woman Sat on Grass Going Yoga

Better mental health

Despite the popular belief that cigarettes help to relieve stress and deal with the pressures of day-to-day life, such as work or family issues, this could not be further from the truth.

Continuing to smoke can have a seriously negative impact on mental wellbeing. For those already suffering from mental health issues, it’s known that adults with depression are ‘much more likely to smoke than adults without depression’, according to the NHS.

Because interferes with chemicals in the brain, the craving for nicotine in cigarettes gives you only a temporary release but will make you feel more agitated and anxious without one.

Quitting as soon as possible can relieve stress, improve mood, and decrease the chances of depression or anxiety.

Overall quality of life will improve and the need for medication will reduce, or if you do need to take medication for your mental health, it will work much more effectively.

Data from the NHS also highlights that:

  • People with mental health problems smoke more heavily and are much more likely to smoke than the general population
  • Require higher doses of antipsychotic medicines and antidepressants
  • Smoking reduces life expectancy – people die on average 10 to 20 years earlier than those who don't experience mental health problems

Source: NHS

Improved blood circulation

Did you know that the World Health Organization estimates that 20% of all deaths from coronary heart disease are related to smoking cigarettes?

More importantly, even despite decades of research, it is still not clear which specific chemical compounds are the most responsible for side effects in the cardiovascular system.

What we do know is that blood circulation will improve when you stop smoking. Cigarettes impact every organ in the body and it’s no surprise that the dangerous chemicals in your body from smoking stick to the artery walls, causing a blockage which can lead to heart issues.

Giving up smoking will unblock the arteries and gradually begin the process of freeing up greater blood flow to pump around the body. Blood vessels which line the walls will no longer be as swollen or inflamed, and the chances of blood clots will decrease.

Source: British Heart Foundation, CDC, WebMD

Reduces fertility

As of 2022 from the National Statistics records in the UK, there were 605, 479 births, the lowest number since records dating back to 2002. One of the contributing factors to this is smoking. It still affects ten percent of the population, with women who currently smoke significantly less likely to have a child than a former or never smoker, according to a recent study.

How does this occur? There are several key reasons why this may happen. From negatively impacting hormone production, to general infertility rates increasing among men and women, the risk is much greater when smoking vs not smoking or stopping smoking.

It can increase the chances of stillbirth, miscarriage and pre-term birth. It can even create low levels of oxygen in the womb, based on research carried out by the University of Cambridge.

Source: Ash, Cambridge University, FDA